Freezing rain. An incrementally ordinary day
being cruel to spring like a bad mood
that doesn’t understand a teen-ager’s energy.
Everyone’s retro-Blackhawks soaked with slush.
Buds on the trees, but the blossoms have taken
two steps back. Things as they are. Your mind
as it is. Pigeons in the ashes of grey miracles.
Yesterday’s mystery today’s history of erosion.
A thousand years from now, will somebody
try to imagine the way it was now as I have so often
Shakespeare closing the door behind him
at the Montjoie’s on the corner of Fleet Street
and Monkwell, thinking he might check out the bookstalls
at St. Paul’s on his way to monitor the receipts of the theatre?
Pride of London, Lady at the Gate, Bouncing Bet,
did dandelions grow between the cobblestones?
Though all the world’s a stage, and we are such stuff,
as he says, dreams are made on, were there days when the Globe
was a pebble in his shoe that vexed his winged heels?
As many uneventful moments in an eventful life
as there are blades of grass to outnumber
the new recruits of the trees trying to take a stand
in the water-logged fields at the edge of town.
Old ladies breaking their hips when they slip
and the school bus is grounded. House-bound
on a farm out of reach of going anywhere a glacier wouldn’t
with four ansy kids and the internet down
until the power’s restored, is of no less moment
in the history of the world than Shakespeare’s lost years
as a clandestine tutor fond of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
The ordinary takes on the patina of the extraordinary
in the middens of time. We’re intrigued like mirrors
by the reflections of who we were any day on earth,
once we disappear, strangers to ourselves, as if Shakespeare
never had to bend down to tie a shoelace, empty his boot,
or drool when he dreamt. Days like today
with their utter lack of diffidence to what was being written
in 1603 by a jobbing poet with cosmic sensibilities.
Who knows who’ll will be in the minds of those to come?
Maybe some die with an idea of who they were,
putting a little too much emphasis on a good guess,
but the memory of anyone’s always a work in progress.
There’s always the afterbirth of life after theatre
laughing and chattering after the silence of the last act
leaving a funeral imposed upon their affections
like tears of freezing rain, the shadow of terror marring their pity.
Telomerase of frayed chromosomes, I’m writing poems
on flypaper helically wheeling among the stars
trying to make constellations out of houseflies,
and I’m seeking a deeper intimacy between words and my mind
as if all these labyrinths I keep losing myself in
were no more off road from the path that keeps taking me
through life, than my fingerprints are from my skin.
Devoted to failing at achieving the unattainable
as if it could be actualized as an event of little significance,
I collaborate like a sacred clown in the lonely absurdity
of my creative freedom to let things make me up
as they flow along like the waterclock of a narrative theme
as the curtain goes up like a veil of freezing rain
to reveal the screening myth of a character modelled
on my eyes, my heart, my feeling for the part I’m playing
like a bucket the bottom’s fallen out of like a deus ex machina
through a trap door ill-timed to make an exit like Keats
with a awkward bow, having written my name
like a tourist in water to see what it feels like to drown
in your own lungs like a bubble of blood rising
to the moment it disappears as if nothing had happened at all.
Dreams aren’t solid, but even unfulfilled, they’re real.